Banksy street art : a new exhibition in Rome

If you like street art, you’re probably familiar with the enigmatic, anonymous artist known as Banksy. His wonderfully satirical, sardonic, subversive and increasingly political images including “Girl with a Balloon”, “Naked Man” “Love is in the air” have been gracing walls and buildings everywhere from Bristol to Beirut for decades. And today Banksy street art commands multi million pound prices. But if you can’t afford to buy one – and lets face it, who amongst us could? – you can still admire it if you’re in Rome this summer as the Palazzo Cipolla Museum is launching one of the largest exhibitions of his work to date. War, Capitalism and Liberty kicks off on 24th May running through to the 4th September so let’s take a look at what is in store when you visit.

Banksy street art in Rome

Who is Banksy?

Who knows?! Despite several tabloid attempts to unmask him Banksy remains satisfyingly anonymous and part of me is actually glad as it maintains an aura of magic around him. Knowing who he is would burst that bubble and, for me as a fan, would ruin things. I hope we never find out!

D_D_Italia - Banksy street art - a new exhibition in Rome

Banksy street art

What we do know is that he started out as a stencil graffiti artist in Bristol in the United Kingdom, influenced by another Bristolian, 3D, who went on to form Massive Attack. Bristol was clearly the place to be in the 1980s!

What set him apart from the casual spray painter was the way he tackled different contemporary issues such as war, politics, animal welfare and immigration with an enormous tongue wedge firmly in his cheek. Some motifs like rats and monkeys appear repeatedly representing those without a voice. But underneath his cheeky humour and provocative designs, he was quietly, pointedly pointing out society’s hypocrisies to tweak our consciences, if we still have one, and make us think.

He’s now considered the world’s best street artist with global influence on the urban art movement and is probably the most notorious but least known artists alive. Fans hail him as an artistic genius not least because no other artist in western art has managed to bring such important societal issues as the refugee crisis and West Bank Barrier to the attention of a global audience.

Banksy street art in Rome

Banksy graffiti at the Israeli West Bank barrier in Bethlehem. Photo by Markus Ortner

And his art can be found around the globe from the UK to Italy and Palestine to Timbuktu in Mali. Keep your eyes peeled, though, as he rarely signs pieces anymore, enhancing the air of mystery.

War, Capitalism and Liberty : the exhibition

This summer’s exhibition in Rome includes around 120 original paintings, prints, unique sculptures, creations and rare pieces from private collections, many of which have never been seen publically before. It won’t, however, include any works cut off buildings or removed from the street.

Banksy street art in Rome

The retrospective of Banksy street art will span his entire career and promises to be a groundbreaking display of the different formats, techniques and topics tackled by him, demonstrating the sheer scale and scope of his work over the last 30 years.

From his black and white stenciled sandwich board-wearing monkeys declaring ‘Laugh now but one day we’ll be in charge’ to the unsettling image of ‘Kids on Guns’ the exhibition, like Banksy, examines war, consumerism and politics aiming to make you really think.

Exit through the gift shop!

Banksy street art in Rome

Personally, I’ve been a fan of Banksy’s clever, thought-provoking artwork for around 20 years and am thrilled that War, Capitalism and Liberty will bring together some of his lesser known pieces. And if its anything like as good as previous shows, including when he unofficially took over the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery in the summer of 2009, fans and art lovers will be queuing round the block for a chance to enjoy so much Banksy street art in one place. I’d love to know what you think of Banksy, his art or even graffiti in general so leave me a comment with your favourite artwork or painting and why you love it. In the meantime, make sure to book early for this one, I suspect it’s going to be a popular attraction in Rome this summer! See you there!

Useful information

War, Capitalism & Liberty is a non-profit exhibition conceived and promoted by Fondazione Terzo Pilastro – Italia e Mediterraneo and curated by Stefano Antonelli, Francesca Mezzano & Acoris Andipa.

Exhibition website here

Dates : The show runs from 24 May – 4 September 2016

Venue address : Palazzo Cipolla, 320 Via del Corso, 00186 Rome.

Tickets cost €13.50 (€9.50 for reduced entry) and can be pre-booked here

Opening hours : Doors open at 11am with last entry at 7pm, closed Mondays. Pre-booked tickets are for timed entry so please check your ticket as entry may be refused if you are late.

PLEASE NOTE : The artist known as Banksy is not associated or involved in this museum show and all the artworks in this exhibition are from international private collectors.

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20 Responses to Banksy street art : a new exhibition in Rome

  1. This is really good to know. Will go first time I’m in Roma. Thank you!

  2. Ishita says:

    Wow! I had no idea about this. Thanks Liz!

  3. I am a big fan of street art and Banksy but unfortunately won’t be in Rome when the exhibition is on. Looks fascinating though. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. His works surely are amazing! You’re right sometimes it’s better for a talented artist remains as anonymous far from all the commercial effect of being an artist.

    • I agree Rose, he’s a fabulous artist! And personally I don’t need to know the ins and outs of someone’s home life or where they grew up to be able to enjoy their art. I hope you have a chance to check it out! Happy travels!! :o)

  5. Ochalina says:

    His works are surely amazing! You’re right sometiimes it’s better for a talented artist remain anonymous, far from all the effect of commercial side of being an artist.

  6. Liz, I’m a huge Banksy fan too! So sad I’m not in Rome to see this. I think he’s so clever. A lot of people give Banksy a hard time but I love his work.

    • I totally agree! So many people just see it as graffiti without looking at it properly and so miss the humour and intelligence! And you’ve still got 3 months to come up with an excuse to get to Rome…..!!! :o)

  7. I love street art and Banksy is one of the best. Sadly Rome is not a short trip to just pop over to check this out so will not get a chance to see this exhibit. Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard Liz.

    • He’s a wonderful artist isn’t he? And what a pity that you can’t be in Rome this summer but I’m glad I could share some of his fabulous work with you here! Keep the great posts coming guys – I can’t wait to see where you end up!! Happy travels!!

  8. Keen to visit the show in Rome, as we were on holiday there – but didn’t go in because of the entrance fee of 12.5 euro. Living in Bristol and having seen ‘Dismaland’ we felt it was a bit of a rip-off and the fact that Banksy hasn’t endorsed the show says it all. I think it’s a collector’s scam to make money. The real messages don’t need a high-profile gallery to get the point across. Sorry! 🙂

    • says:

      Don’t apologise David, you’re perfectly entitled to your views! I didn’t see Dismaland but I did queue for hours and hours for the Bristol Gallery show and loved it! I’m just happy to see Banksy messages being accessible to a wider audience. Hope you enjoyed your Rome trip though? What was your favourite spot??

  9. I’ll be in Roma for a day on my way to Puglia, and Via del Corso is on my usual ‘un giorno a roma’ itinerary so I will try and catch the show!

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